San Diego Padres: Random Thoughts from Friars Win Over SFG

SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 14: Christian Villanueva
SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 14: Christian Villanueva /

The San Diego Padres took their second win in a row over the San Francisco Giants last night. Here’s another edition of FoB’s random thoughts on the victory.

San Diego Padres’ rookie Christian Villanueva has all but taken over the third-base position from Chase Headley. A $13 million reserve player certainly isn’t ideal, but this situation will resolve itself in due time.

Villanueva’s monster home run in the first, that incited an awesome exclamation of “launch angle!!” from Mark Grant of FOX Sports San Diego on the replay, is something that Headley just doesn’t do anymore. Villanueva just hits lefties so well. Take a look at this shot…

Headley got the start at first base in place of Eric Hosmer, but didn’t make much of a difference (0-3) at the plate and was double-switched out of the game late. He made a couple of decent plays at first, but his night was mostly underwhelming.

After finding themselves trailing 4-3, Hunter Renfroe put the Friars on his back and crushed a two-run homer in the seventh to give the Padres a 5-4 lead that the bullpen would hold up.

Renfroe tends to swing out of his cleats at times but when he makes solid contact, watch out. Once he learns when the right times are to try to hit the ball out of Petco altogether, and focuses on hitting line drives into the gaps, this could be a cornerstone player for the Friars.

Clayton Richard keeps getting it done, one way or another

Clayton Richard has consistently pitched to positive results over his first few starts, apart from a hiccup here and there. Plus, he swings the bat extremely well.

Besides notching the Friars’ only hit in Thursday night’s loss, he hit a foul ball last night in the third inning last night that was maybe 20 feet wide of the foul pole in right. That thing was ripped.

Clayton Richard’s comfortability/confidence level on the hill is quite visible to this writer. It’s like he knows that he can get out of jams and work around mistakes. It shows in his pitches and in his demeanor on the mound. He’s pitching with conviction and purpose. It’s really cool to see.

Some musings on the Giants

The Giants’ new third baseman, Evan Longoria, has had a tough go so far this year. He crushed a game-tying homer in the fourth, so it looks like he’s finding his swing. Awesome…

Richard battled through the rest of the fourth inning, eventually allowing an Austin Jackson RBI single to give the Giants a 3-2 lead. It almost feels like if it was 2017, not 2018, that would have been a six-run inning, not a three-run inning.

Andrew McCutchen, also off to a slow start this year, hit a home run off Richard in the fifth to make it a 4-2 game. If Longoria and Cutch both come around, along with Buster Posey, Joe Panik, Brandon Belt, and Brandon Crawford, this is a team to be reckoned with.

More Padres thoughts…

Matt Szczur is making good contact and has three hits in twelve at-bats this year. Andy Green has to find more at-bats for him as the season progresses.

A.J. Ellis looks good at the plate. We could start to see more of a platoon at backstop than we have so far if he continues to play well.

Carlos Asuaje broke a 0-for-17 hitless streak with a sixth-inning single. That’s nice to see but he’s going to have to do more to continue to justify garnering so much playing time at second.

Jose Pirela continues to hit. After scoring the Pads’ first run on the first after a leadoff double, he added an RBI double in the sixth to cut the Giants’ lead to 4-3. He’s currently hitting .304 with six doubles and seven RBI.

More from Friars on Base

Padres’ relievers get the job done, too

Adam Cimber was the first Padres reliever to come in, pitching two innings, allowing just one hit, and striking out three, including a beautiful two-seamer to induce a swinging third strike from Crawford in the sixth.

Phil Maton got the first two outs of the eighth, striking out Buster Posey but allowing a double to Longoria (ugh) before Green went to Brad Hand for a four-out save.

Hand got Hunter Pence swinging at a 94 MPH four-seamer on a full-count to get out of the jam and then struck out the side in the ninth (again) to lock down a huge win for the good guys.

If this San Diego Padres’ bullpen continues to perform so well, the lack of depth in the rotation may not turn out to be as big a problem as we thought it would. As long as the offense can show up somewhat consistently, this team will be competitive.

Next: Padres' Offense Hasn't Been Great

Taking two out of the first three from San Francisco ain’t so bad. A win today would be great but a split wouldn’t hurt. The Padres need to do well against divisional rivals.

It seems things may be closer in the NL West than most anticipated. An extra win or two over a rival gunning for the same postseason berth tends to add up in the long run.